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Do films and TV series glamourize crime?
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Several crimes have inspired media portrayals that have popularized not just the genre of true crime, but the criminal too

The true-crime genre gives an honest and objective portrayal of the truth behind crimes. It allows for a deeper understanding of criminology and brings forth the knowledge that the passage of time does nothing to diminish the criminal intent lurking within humanity as a whole.

The Argument

Films and TV shows, like any other relaxing activity, hope to provide an escape from reality. But is entertainment the sole purpose of such media? Filmmakers also have a responsibility to, in some way, hold a mirror up to society.[1] Even slapstick comedies directed by Charlie Chaplin, while bringing a laugh to its viewers, reflects the inherent faults in society. Films and TV shows that depict crime are no different. Crime has accompanied humanity since as long as one can remember. Being a part of society, it needs to be shown to people in the hope of them realizing the error of their ways. Plato stated that all art is mimetic in nature, i.e. imitation of reality.[2] Therefore, movies and TV series that depict violence and crime are not a glorification of the acts, but their honest and objective portrayal. These portrayals allow for a deeper understanding of the psyche of the criminals. Individuals make attempts to understand why the criminal acted the way they did. It allows people to be more sensitive towards issues like mental health and abuse, while simultaneously reflecting the cruelty that exists in some individuals who commit heinous crimes out of rage, jealousy or even in certain cases, boredom and passion. Ultimately, if films reflect the good of society, then a depiction of the lurking horrors within is also necessary to help keep one’s actions in check.

Counter arguments

The true-crime genre focuses on the criminal - his thoughts, method, actions and ultimately his act; they pay little to no attention towards the victims, almost making them seem as props that reflect the criminal’s genius. For example, Ted Bundy is almost a household name on account of the various shows on his life and crimes, yet his victims’ names are scarcely remembered. Another major red flag with crime films is that it may allow the viewers to empathize with the criminal. All actions have consequences, especially crimes. By empathizing, it in a way negates the purpose of depicting the crime[3].



[P1] People are very drawn to true crime stories due to the basic instinct of survival.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Getting used to watching true crime and violence might lower the capability of human compassion and empathy.

Further Reading

Film and mimesis by Artur Zaguła [4] Everything Quentin Tarantino Really Thinks About Violence and the Movies [5] Why Do Women Love True Crime? [6] How healthy is our obsession with true crime? [7] Why are we obsessed with true crime and what is it doing to our minds? [8]


This page was last edited on Friday, 17 Jul 2020 at 20:42 UTC

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